February 2015 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

Animal Manure Management April 13, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

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Webcast Series

Back-to-Back Webcasts: Gypsum Bedding, W2W Preview, Novel Animal Housing

The webcast series originally planned on using cruise control before the Waste to Worth (W2W) conference, but instead decided to shift into overdrive with two webcasts in back-to-back weeks.
dairy cowGypsum bedding/W2W preview - We will be looking at the unintended consequences of using gypsum board as bedding in dairies (a preview of a poster that will be at W2W) and our W2W conference chair will be highlighting some of the sessions at the conference. February 27 at 2:30 pm (eastern). More...

Novel animal housing - Housing designs have changed in recent years, spurred by policies, consumer attitudes and producer preferences. There is a need to simultaneously address animal welfare, environment, and cost and management factors. This webinar will provide examples from swine, dairy and layers on how and why producers have implemented changes to their housing practices, and some of the lessons learned along the way. March 6 at 2:30 pm. (eastern) More...

Featured Video:

A fun and interactive manure exhibit for children More...

Webcast Basics

What's Going On In the LPELC?

Waste to Worth: Spreading science and solutions logoWaste to Worth.  Registration is open!  The online proceedings are being created and will be ready in time for the conference. Waste to Worth will be held in beautiful downtown Seattle within walking distance of the Space Needle, Waterfront, and public transit. Check out the tours, draft program and more...

Around the "Horns"

Regulations and Policy

  • A judge in Washington has ruled that a dairy farm is responsible for polluting groundwater through its manure application. This ruling applies the term "solid waste" to improperly managed manure. This designation is important because it brings additional federal regulation (Federal Conservation and Recovery Act) into the picture, which will have implications for farms nationwide if the ruling is upheld through the expected appeals processes. Reuters... | US News...
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn the interpretive rule related to exempt conservation practices (one portion of the  "Waters of the U.S." or WOTUS proposed rule). EPA and USDA worked together on the interpretive rule and considered it to be a clarification of conservation practices that did not need a permit. Instead, the interpretive rule seemed to have the opposite effect and there was concern it could discourage conservation on farms. Congress recommended that EPA withdraw the rule in its "Cromnibus" bill.  Federal register notice... | Memo...  This action does not withdraw the entire proposed WOTUS rule. | Related: Archived webcast on WOTUS....
  • Ohio lawmakers are again considering (and likely to pass) a plan that would ban winter manure spreading and require certification for manure spread on a field in winterthose spreading manure (already required for those spreading inorganic fertilizer). The effort is in response to toxic algae blooms, most recently in Lake Erie. More... | Related: Archived webcast on winter manure spreading
  • "The Horse" magazine wrote up a summary of how federal regulations (Clean Water Act) can be applied to horse farms. It is worth a read if you work with equine businesses. More... On a related note, a University of Florida outreach coordinator offers some great information on managing horse manure to maintain positive neighbor relations and be prepared for legislative changes that are occurring across the country. More... | Related: Horse Manure Management

Nutrient Management

  • An article in the journal, Environmental Research Letters, took a look at how how sub-Saharan Africa feed nitrogen content and nutrient management can be altered by simple management practices. The research examined changes in production as well as whether the practices led to environmental N losses. They also examined if reduced nitrogen (N) intake for intensive farming systems (such as those found in North America) for reduction of environmental N losses led to reduced production. More...
  • North Dakota State University has developed a manure application calculator [spreadsheet] for corn. More...
  • The largest city in Iowa, Des Moines, is planning to sue three neighboring counties over nitrate runoff in the Raccoon River. The nitrate content of the water greatly increases treatment costs. The nitrate removal system costs $4000 per day with the city spending around $900,000 in 2013. Voluntary efforts to control runoff are being implemented in those areas, but city leaders are not convinced progress will happen quickly enough. Des Moines Register... | NPR...

Tile Drainage

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers are modeling nitrate losses in fields with subsurface (tile) drainage and looking at cover crops to potentially reduce the potential nitrate in drainage water. More...
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) research examined phosphorus losses in Midwestern fields, especially in subsurface (tile) tile drainagedrainage. They found that only about 2% of fertilizer phosphorus was lost as [surface] runoff, but that subsurface drainage often exceeded concentrations recommended for prevention of algal blooms. More... | Related: Waste to Worth tile drainage proceedings and Preferential Flow of Manure in Tile Drainage

Animal Welfare.

  • Well-known animal welfare expert, Temple Grandin, delivered a message to a national farm convention on the need for openness and for changes. She weighs in on topics like smartphone cameras, practices that are 'impossible sells', GMO foods, and "pink slime". More...
  • The NY Times recently published a scathing article that accused the USDA Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) of improper practices dairy cowsrelated to the care of animals in research programs. More...  (MARC partner, the University of Nebraska issued a response that can be found here.) The USDA Secretary of Agriculture has ordered the review and update of the agency's animal welfare plan. This includes the appointment of an animal welfare ombudsman. More...
  • Restaurants are also making animal welfare a more prominent part of their menu and marketing. Recently Starbucks announced that it would require producers to follow certain animal welfare standards for animal-based products sold in its stores. More... Chipotle halted sales of a menu item after it suspended purchases from a non-compliant supplier. This left the restaurant chain without enough pork for carnitas. More...

Antibiotic Resistance. Research at Texas Tech University have found that particulate matter (dust) from cattle feedlots can carry antibiotic resistance, and for potentially long distances. The scientists compared upwind and downwind samples from a feedyard and found that the downwind samples contained more antibiotics, bacteria, and DNA sequences associated with antibiotic resistance. TTU News... | Journal article... | Related: LPELC pathogen or air quality information

Biosecurity. Avian influenza has been confirmed in the northwestern U.S. and British Columbia, Canada. Commercial flocks in Canada and backyard flocks in the U.S. as well as migratory wildfowl have all been infected. Commercial growers (housed indoors) are reminded to revisit biosecurity protocols and flock owners with outdoor bird access are asked to watch for signs of potential illness. This is not a flu strain that affects humans. UC Davis article... | WSU article... | Capital Press... | eXtension Small Flocks....

Funding Opportunities.

  • The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has issued a request for pre-proposals for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. The CIG looks to move promising options past the research phase and into technology transfer through venues such as field demonstrations and pilot projects. More... | Related: W2W presentation on CIG grants
  • The USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) is offering grants for education, outreach, training, and mentoring of young and beginning farmers. More... | Related: The LPELC Beginning Farmers section was one product (among others) developed with a grant through BFRDP
  • The USDA Rural Energy Assistance Program (REAP) is accepting applications for energy efficiency and renewable energy development projects for farms and rural businesses. Federal Register Notice... | REAP application tools & templates...

Pathogens. A Cornell study found that surface applications of manure resulted in more curli-producing E. coli bacteria reaching subsurface tile drainage than incorporated manure applications. Curli have been linked to the environmental survivability of E. coli. Abstract... (Full article is behind a paywall).

Research Search. The National Ag Library (NAL) has developed a new search portal that accesses thousands of USDA research publications and scientific journals. The system is called Pub Ag. More...

Manure tweet of the week:

Events & Announcements

Midwest Manure Summit. Will be held February 24-25, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. More...

Waste to Worth 2015. The second Waste to Worth conference will be held March 30-April 3 at the Westin hotel in Seattle, WA. More...

ASABE Climate Change. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers will be hosting their first Climate Change Symposium - Mitigation and Adaptation.will be held in Chicago May 3-5, 2015. More...

Brazil Symposium. Rio deJaneiro, Brazil will be home to the IV International Symposium on Agricultural and Agroindustrial Waste Management - IV SIGERA May 5-7, 2015.  More...

BioCycle West Coast. The conference will be held April 13-16 in Portland, OR and is focused on organic waste recycling. More...

Manure Expo. The next North American Manure Expo will be held in Chambersburg, PA on July 14-15, 2015. The theme this year... "Manure Than You Can Handle". Watch the Facebook page for updates as it gets closer.

Dairy Environmental Conference. Cornell University is hosting a Dairy Environmental Systems and Climate Adaptation Conference July 29-31, 2015 in Ithaca, New York. The conference will include tours and educational sessions.

Soil & Water Conservation Society. The SWCS is hosting its annual conference July 26-29, 2015 in Greensboro, NC. Oral presentation submissions close January 8 and poster submissions close March 2. More...

Mortality Symposium. The 5th International Symposium on Animal Mortality Management will be held September 28-October 1, 2015 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The call for papers and posters is now open. More...

Manure In the News

A look at animal agriculture and manure in the news; serious, funny or controversial. We don't endorse this stuff, we just think you should know about it.

The digester featured in one of our virtual tours has been shut down to reevaluate the business plan. More... This comes on the heels of another digester making news. It has recently been the source of several spills and is experiencing financial difficulties. More... Most of us that work with manure management are aware that digesters are a very promising technology, but they are challenging in many ways, and those challenges go beyond the design, financing, and initial management learning curve.

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If you have any questions about this newsletter, please contact Jill Heemstra jheemstra@unl.edu

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.